“My first son was my 1993 World Trade Centre bombing baby. I call my second son my “Khobar Towers baby” (born shortly after the 1996 bombing of a military housing complex in Saudi Arabia); my third child, a daughter, is my “African embassy bombing baby” (she arrived a few weeks before the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania); and my fourth, another son, is my “9/11 baby”. My fifth child, a girl, was my “Fallujah baby”.”Gina Bennett –Veteran CIA analyst
The Memorial Wall is a memorial at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It honors CIA employees who died in the line of service. Today, there are 129 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall. At least ten represent women.
Jane Wallis Burrell was in the OSS from 1943-1945, and was a case officer in X-2 in France and Germany. She segued into the SSU, the CIG, and then the CIA, and was recognized as the first CIA officer to have died while in service. A declassified CIA document — released in 2003 — indicates that Burrell was part of a team hunting for the NAZI gold. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Jane Wallis Burrell: The First CIA Officer To Die in the Agency’s Service
On January 6, 1948, an Air France DC-3 from Brussels crashed on approach to the Le Bourget airport near Paris, killing all five crew members and 10 of the 11 passengers.
Among the dead was a young woman who, press reports said, was either a clerk or a courier. She was neither.
Jane Burrell was a CIA officer, and her death—only 110 days after CIA was officially established the previous September—makes her the first CIA officer to die while employed by the Agency. (…)
We know nothing about Jane’s activity at the time of her death. She was returning from a trip to Brussels on January 6 — traditionally the end of the Christmas season—and despite speculation that she was on an operational mission, the limited documentation sheds no light. An official US spokesman at the time said Jane had been on vacation.
Jane was never a candidate for a Star on CIA’s Memorial Wall because the Wall commemorates Agency employees who died in specific circumstances, and deaths from crashes of commercial aircraft have generally not qualified.
At the same time, her service with CIA and its predecessor organizations was honorable and deserves to be remembered. [CIA Website]
The ‘Memorial Wall” has 117 stars [Update: 117+8 in 2017; +4 in 2018], honoring the agency officers who’ve died in the field. According to open source and declassified information, at least ten (11?) represent women. Would you like to know their story? Stay tuned!
UPDATE — On Monday May 22 2017, the Central Intelligence Agency held its annual memorial ceremony to pay tribute to the men and women of CIA who have died in the line of duty – courageous Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Eight stars were added to the Memorial Wall this year.
Three of the stars added pay tribute to the lives of David W. Bevan, Darrell A. Eubanks, and John S. Lewis. All three men died when their plane crashed while carrying out a mission in Laos in 1961.
A fourth star was added to honor Mark S. Rausenberger, an Agency officer of eighteen years, who died while serving overseas. The circumstances of his death remain classified.
The names of the other four individuals honored with newly-carved stars this year remain classified.
Obviously, one — or several — of these four individuals could be a woman. We simply do not know.
Moreover, in September 2016, Abigail Jones published a piece in Newsweek titled “Women of the CIA“. Jones wrote:
There are more women in the CIA than ever before, with women operating at unprecedented levels on every floor of CIA headquarters and throughout its far-flung global outposts. Yet women remain underrepresented in executive-level jobs and the clandestine service.
The Memorial Wall, in the lobby of the CIA in McLean, Virginia, has 117 stars, honoring the agency officers who’ve died in the field. Eleven represent women.
On June 12 2018, the Central Intelligence Agency held its annual Memorial Ceremony to remember, honor, and celebrate the courageous CIA officers who died in the line of duty for their country.
The CIA added four stars to its Memorial Wall this year to commemorate four distinguished officers who can be known to the public not by their names or the circumstances of their deaths, which remain classified, but by a star.
During the ceremony, which occurred before the Memorial Wall, Director Haspel remembered the fallen, saying, “They live on in our thoughts and prayers and remain forever among our ranks—a constant source of pride, inspiration, and strength for those of us who carry on their mission.”
Director Haspel presented the families of the four fallen officers with a marble replica of their loved one’s star.
END of UPDATE
Mother, Daughter, Sister, SPY – Women of the CIA
This event was moderated by Governing Board Member and Co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning on WABC-TV in New York City, Lori Stokes.
Women of the CIA — Newsweek
The Mystery of Jane Wallis Burrell: The First CIA Officer To Die in the Agency’s Service — CIA news & Information
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Barbara A. Robbins — CIA Website
Tribute to Women Who Have Died — STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE
REAGAN SAYS BLAST WON’T DETER PEACE EFFORTS — NYT 21 April 1983
Memorial Service 1983 — CIA Website
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Jacqueline K. Van Landingham — CIA Website
U.S. Seeking 3 Gunmen In Karachi — NYT March 10 1995
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Leslianne Shedd — CIA Website
CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall — CIA website May 21 2006
Khowst – 5 Years Later — Cia Website
Who was Elizabeth Hanson? — COLBY Magazine
Silent Stars — The Washingtonian
CIA : A Few Good Women
One Year Ago — CIA : A Few Good Women
Two Years Ago — CIA : A Few Good Women